Shane Claiborne visit to Haiti
April 16, 2014
Last week, we had the honor of receiving Shane Claiborne for a three day visit to Haiti. Below is a post he wrote about the experience on Facebook. Haiti Partners is so grateful to be able to call Shane our friend and partner!
I’ve been a little quiet on the facebook, because I’ve been in Haiti this week, with very limited internet. I’m finally able to tell you a little about the trip – which has been something special.
First, a little about Haiti. It’s about the size of Maryland, but with over 8 million people, speaking mostly Creole. It’s often recognized as the poorest country in the western hemisphere, one of the poorest in the world. 80% of the population lives off of less than $2 a day, median income $60 a year. Only 10% of Haiti has electricity. Half the population lacks access to clean water. Average life expectancy is 50 years. Mostly Catholic, many Protestant, and a fair amount of Vodou. Only about 4% of the kids graduate high school. And of course the earthquake in 2010 killed roughly 200,000 people and left a million homeless… they are still recovering. One of the critical justice issues in Haiti is the “restavec” children – 300,000 kids used for labor, many of them terribly abused physically and sexually in a hidden, subtle slavery.
So that’s the tough side of Haiti.
But there is a beautiful side of Haiti, stunningly beautiful…I got to travel all over the little country this week speaking, and listening. I’ve been hosted by my dear friends at Haiti Partners, who I really want all of you to know about. They are doing some of the most incredible work in the world, combatting injustice and poverty with imagination.
I’ve been meeting with some of the sharpest leaders in Haiti – pastors, scholars, survivors of restavec childhood trauma, and entrepreneurs – I’ve seen some brilliantly innovative businesses, like composting toilets which we made good use of. I’ve heard the singing of familiar hymns, and moved to the beat, as we worshipped in Creole. I ate goat (not bad), drank from a coconut (better than the goat), and got beat in dominos. I’ve visited schools that hope to change the 96% dropout rate, and sat at the feet of wise-old farmers talking theology, dreaming of a day when everyone has enough. I was put to sleep at night by the rain as it drummed down on the tin-roof hut. It has been a magical time here in this troubled but hope-filled country.
A new Haiti is being born as we speak… and these folks are on the forefront.